NFL

Does Jadeveon Clowney Make the Seahawks Favorites to Win the NFC West?

After expressing unhappiness with the Houston Texans, Jadeveon Clowney made it clear this offseason he wanted the team to deal him elsewhere. They recently did, sending him to the Seattle Seahawks

Clowney is the definition of an impact player. But how much of an impact will he have? And will his presence be enough to make the Seahawks the favorites in the NFC West? 

Jadeveon Clowney’s career accomplishments

Jadeveon Clowney was the Houston Texans’ number one overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. He was a no-brainer for the top spot that year, as anyone familiar with his work at the University of South Carolina was familiar with his dominance as a pass rusher. 

Here are Clowney’s numbers after five seasons at the pro level: 

  • 62 games played
  • 29 sacks
  • 205 combined tackles
  • 67 quarterback hits
  • 11 interceptions
  • Six fumble recoveries
  • 64 career tackles for a loss
  • Two fumbles returned for a touchdown
  • 11 passes defended 
  • Three Pro Bowl selections
  • Was named to NFL’s Top 100 players three times

Clowney’s rookie season was marred by injury and he only played two games. Since 2015 he has played no less than 13 games every season. 

The Seahawks’ 2018 defense 

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Seattle’s famed “Legion of Boom” defense is long gone. While they may not have the same talent they had in the days of Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor, just how effective is their current defense? And where will Clowney make the biggest impact? 

Jadeveon Clowney is an incredible pass rusher, so it makes sense to take a look at how they ranked in some key defensive categories last season, particularly related to the pass rush. That will help contextualize how much room for improvement the Seahawks have: 

  • 16th in passing yards allowed (3,842)
  • 13th in sacks (43)
  • 4th in quarterback hits (109)
  • 22th in sack percentage (7.3%)
  • 14th in opposing team’s quarterback rating (94.3) 
  • 16th in yards lost due to sacks (261) 

Based on those numbers, it’s apparent Seattle had a middle-of-the-pack pass rush in 2018. Adding Clowney can certainly help them get to the next level. 

To determine whether he gets them to the division’s number one spot, however, it helps to look at their competition. 

Does Jadeveon Clowney make the Seahawks favorites to win the NFC West? 

Clowney no doubt gives the Seahawks an edge when it comes to getting to the quarterback. However, it’s hard to say whether one player can make them the favorites in the division. 

After winning last season’s NFC championship, the L.A. Rams still have to be considered the NFC West favorites right now. They haven’t lost any major pieces. Quarterback Jared Goff has another year of experience under his belt, meaning he’ll likely only improve. 

The other two teams in the division are likely to get better also. While the Seahawks will be better than both Arizona and San Francisco, those teams will probably upgrade over last season’s results.

Arizona added a new coach with a new offensive philosophy in Kliff Kingsbury. His “Air Raid” offense should help them move the ball downfield more consistently. They’ve also got a new franchise quarterback in Kyler Murray. Baker Mayfield’s emergence in Cleveland shows a rookie quarterback can make a difference. And the 49ers will have a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo under center all year. 

Arizona and San Francisco won’t challenge for the division crown, but they will be more competitive. The NFC West divisional games will be six difficult games for the Seahawks.

Clowney makes the Seahawks’ defense a bit more formidable, but he alone probably doesn’t make them the favorites in the NFC West. That honor belongs to the Rams, while the Cardinals and 49ers will also give the Seattle a run for their money.